Two Paths: Jude or Judas

Two Paths: Jude or Judas

Two Paths: Jude or Judas

By Father Luke Hoyt, O.P.

 

 

 

 

It must have been awkward for St. Jude to introduce himself to fellow Christians.

“Hi, I’m Jude.”
“Oh….um….you mean the one who…?”
“No, that was Judas. I’m Jude. Different guy.”

For all the similarity of their names, the legacies of Jude and Judas could not be more different. Judas is the ultimate “lost cause.” Jude is the patron of lost causes. What was the distinguishing factor between them? The virtue of hope. Judas is a “lost cause” because his faults drove him to despair. Jude is the patron of lost causes because he had hope.

Jude was called to be an Apostle. So was Judas. Jude lived with Christ and was taught by him. Same with Judas. Jude was guilty of a grave moral failing by deserting Christ after the last supper. Judas was guilty of a grave moral failing by betraying Christ after the last supper. But while Judas despaired of Christ’s forgiveness in the wake of his grave fault, Jude continued to trust and hope in Christ’s love and friendship.
Each of us is potentially a Jude or a Judas. Like each of them, we have been called to follow Christ. We each seek to live with Christ and receive his teaching. We are each guilty of many moral failings.

But herein lies the distinction: if we focus exclusively on our sinfulness and ignore Christ’s promise of hope, then we are on the Judas-path. Meanwhile, if we live in the hope of Christ, then, despite our moral failings and struggles, we are on the Jude-path. The factor that separates the road to life from the road to perdition is often not so much our great moral accomplishments or grave sinfulness, but simply whether we respond to personal failure with or without the virtue of hope.

To have hope is to firmly trust that God is not lying when he tells us that he will give us everything we need to reach our goal of happiness with Him. To have hope is to trust that whatever our faults and whatever our challenges, Christ is not lying when he says, “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Without the hope of Christ, each of us is a lost cause. But by living in the hope of Christ, we can achieve all things.

May the hope of Christ which filled St. Jude fill our lives as well, that we may trust in Jesus as He leads us to the Heavenly Father.

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